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Dog won't 'fetch'

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Daggre, May 4, 2010.


  1. Daggre

    Daggre PetForums Member

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    Our dog is 10months now. and she STILL can't fetch. She will run after the object quite happily and pick it up, but then when you say 'come' she drops it and comes. I have tried using a longline and reeling her in, but she STILL drops the ball first. Occaisonally she will bring it back, and she gets lots of praise for that. Or she'll come, and drop the ball on the way.Is there some technique I'm missing? She's a lab/poodle cross, so you would've thought she'd 'get' retrieving really xD

    She also doesn't carry stuff along on walks, you give her a stick/ball and she'll get bored and drop it after 5 seconds of walking, which I don't mind, it's just I've seen lots of dogs walking along carrying them. Is this something they need to be trained at too, or do some dogs just not do this?
     
  2. Freyja

    Freyja PetForums VIP

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    Some dogs just do not retrieve. When I was a child we had a lab hat I did obedience with. Her downfall was retrieving. She thought it was great fun to run off with whatever you threw then chew it up.

    My OH's setter doesn't retrieve things unless she really wants too.
     
  3. GemCheri

    GemCheri PetForums Member

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    My last dog (an english setter) never fetched or even played with balls. But Lolah (dogue de bordeaux) has just started to play with balls and fetch.
     
  4. Daggre

    Daggre PetForums Member

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    She will retrieve sometimes, she's definately cabable, and she loves to bring you toys when you arrive home. She used to run up a LOT more then she does now, but I think that's me, she always got really excited in the garden, and however I might I couldn't reatin a calm energy. Howeve rnow I am improving and so is she. she also comes every time now, so that helps, it's just she will come without the ball, or drop it on the way. when she brings it i make a big fuss of her xD

    Thanks for the links Terry =D
     
  5. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Try teaching 'hold'. Offer something (what it is will depend on size of dog, paint rollers without the middle/handle bit for large dogs, proper obedience dumbell or pair of rolled up socks for smaller) to the dog's mouth. He should take it, say the word 'hold' as he does. Repeat 'hold', then say 'give' and take the object - just let the dog hold the thing for a couple of seconds at first. Reward with treats and 'good hold!'. You do this with the dog in front of you in a sit, down or stand. Work on getting the dog to 'hold' for longer periods of time. Only when the dog will hold something for say 10 seconds, start to combine it with a retrieve, using the 'hold' command repeatedly while the dog has the retrieve toy in his mouth and is approaching you. Good luck!
     
  6. Jasper's Bloke

    Jasper's Bloke PetForums VIP

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    Some people like to play football but not rugby and dogs are no different. Each is an individual and each will have different motivations. For many dogs, fetch is a great game that is motivation in itself that taps into their prey drive (chasing and catching something) but for others, it's not really all that exciting.

    Although the retrieve can be taught (just break it down into stages as with the hold above), if you can't get the dog enthusiastic about it then they are never going to 'just' do it for fun.

    Keep trying the training and once the dog realises that bringing something back means he gets to chase it again, and that it's actually fun to do, he might just start to enjoy it. If he doesn't, then I would look for a different game that he really does enjoy.
     
  7. Clare7435

    Clare7435 PetForums VIP

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    It might be worth giving her a break from that part of training for a while.....Fizz can fetch.....she just won't....she'll do it occasionally but if I throw the ball too far she trots over to it...sniffs it...and looks at me as if to say ''yh and you think I'm your slave...do it yourself'' lol....which is ok it's only for her fun I do it anyway....penny chases it...grabs it...and runs like hell to drop it in the pond lol....ah well/....what are walks for eh :thumbup:
    Perhaps it's time to change onto somethig knew for a while and go back to fetch later...she might be just bored of it.
    Clare xx
     
  8. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    So the dog will run after it, pick it up and then drop it before coming back? If she us running after it everytime then she lives that part of the game, the chase and grab.

    A lot of the time people will try and take the toy off if the dog everytime or the majority if times the dog does bring it back. Try instead to up the motivation oir the dog bringing things back by playing another game with the dog. You can wait for the dog to pick up the toy and as soon as it does shout "Bring it" really excitedly and set off running in the opposite direction. The dog won't drop it but will carry it back to you. Don't take it off the dog immediately but play chase in that you chase the dog. It will soon learn that having the toy in it's mouth means the game is better and more fun. How many times have you seen a dog take a toy to another dog? They aren't asking the other dog to throw it thy are wanting the other dog to play get the toy off of me.

    The other thing you could try and this works a treat is to get a tug toy. Get the dog worked up with it and when you win throw the toy a few feet away. The dog will get it and bring it back to engage you in another round. If you lose the dog will still bring the toy back to you for another round. Either way the behaviour you want is ben constantly reinforced. Just don't try and grab the tug toy, allow the dog to bring it back to you and solicit play.
     
  9. JANICE199

    JANICE199 PetForums VIP

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    My Kai is just over 2 years old now, he's a poodle.He loves to go fetch the ball but its very rare he will actualy give it to me.He's more inclined to drop it about a foot away.I've tried everything but to no avail.Now my girl poodle Mia who is the same age will fetch as good as gold.:D
     
  10. Jenny Olley

    Jenny Olley PetForums VIP

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    Put the long line on the toy instead of the dog, this way you can keep the toy "live" so if she drops it you can give a little tug it move again and is interesting again.
     
  11. welshdoglover

    welshdoglover PetForums Senior

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    Not one of my two dogs will fetch, my youngest thinnks it's great fun to run off with it and *hopes* I'll chase him for it back.

    If its a ball I don't bother, if it's a pair of dirty pants from out the wash then I'm all guns glazing around the lounge :lol:
     
  12. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    Ah but you have the makings of a brilliant "fetcher" if you make the coming back to you bit more fun.

    As I stated ont he previous page get a tug toy. Sit with the tug toy in the lounge and let the dog pull on the other end as much as they want, growl with them, shake the tug toy about and as soon as the dog lets go of the toy just toss it a few feet away and pay no attention to the dog. Eventually the dog will want to engage you in play so will try all manner fo things. Only whent he dog brings the toy to you and presents your end of the tug toy do you entertain. If you move for the toy and the dog pulls away then ignore again. Don't move, look away fromt he dog and wait until it presents the toy again.
    This time let the dog win the toy after 20-30-secs of growling, shaking and playing. Ignore the dog again until the toy is presented. Each time the dog wins they realise it's not much fun without you on the end of it. Each time you win you throw the toy and begin the building blocks of the "fetch". You now need to work more on the "you win" than the "dog wins" but not win enough as to bore the dog and make the possession seem too valuabkle fo rthe dog not to give up or they will run away and want you to try and get it off them - what dog to dog to dog will do.

    So the pattern goes something like:

    You win.
    Dog wins.
    Dog wins.
    You win.
    You win.
    Dog wins.
    You win.
    You win.
    Dog wins.
    Dog wins.
    You win.
    You win.
    You win.
    You win.
    Training ends and toy gets put away.

    Next training session for the first few times you win throw the toy a few feet away. Let the dog win one or two. Now when you win throw the toy a bit further. Repeat this for the next few sessions with the throw distance increasing a bit more.

    If you are feeling a bit brave then ask the dog to sit and stay, walk a few feet away, drop the toy and then release the dog from the stay to come and pick the toy up. Get the dog to sit-stay, throw the toy in some long grass and ask the dog to go get it. Sit-stay hide the toy aroudn the house and release the dog to find it.

    The beauty of all of this is that you are channeling the dog's natural desires into constructive training - stalk, chase, grab, bite and sniff. What more could a dog ask for?

    If you use a frisbee then you need to forget about people's opinion of you as you are going to look like an idiot for a bit but i challenge any dog that won't play not to get involved with this.

    NB. Best to do this whilst on a walk in the middle of nowere so if someone does come across you they will think that you though you were alone and won't laugh at you too much or call the authorities.

    Step 1 - This is the most amazing thing in the world!
    Behaviour taught: Stalk & Grab.

    Take the frisbee in your hand and get your OTT American Football Coach charcter head on "WHOOP WHOOP YEHA! ALRIGHT! GOOD JOB!". Now witht he frisbee in your hand start waving it in front of the dog to tease and encourage the dog to take the frisbee. As soon as the dog takes the frisbee it is fireworks, marching band and massive praise "Well done. Who's a clever dog? You are. Yes you. What a good dog you are!".

    Do this about 5 times until you are feeling sick to the back teeth at just how cheesey you can sound when giving praise, don't hold back, now is not the time.

    Step 2: Come and get the most amazing thing int he world!
    Behaviour taught: Stalk, Basic chase & grab.

    Now wave the frisbee at the dog but immediately start walking away from the dog but encourage them to come take the frisbee. You should be stopped over so the firsbee is at dog mouth level, walking away from the dog but looking back at them dog and a stream of vomit inducing encouragement should be spewing out of your mouth. If you're sickly and make the frisbee exciting enough the dog will come to you and take the frisbee. "WOW! What a good dog. You are the best dog in the best dog group that has ever lived! OOOoooooooooh I just want to roll you up in candy and eat you are such a good dog!". As soon as the dog grabs the frisbee stop walking. Repeat this about 5 times before ending the session and carrying on with your walk.

    After 20mins walking repeat step 1 twice. Now repeat step 2 five times.

    Step 3: Catch the most amazing thing in the world!
    Behaviour taught: Stalk, Basic chase & free grab.

    This bit takes a bit of co-ordination but not much.
    Like step 2 we want the dog to come for the frisbee but this time just as the dog is getting close up the pace of your retreat a little and when the dog is within an inch of the frisbee, drop it. That's all. Just drop it and slow your retreat down to a stop gradually. You will be moving away from the dog so the frisbee will drop away from the dog. The dog knows that as soon as it's jaws are around the frisbee it gets it's own private party so it will reach for the frisbee as quickly as possible. This means even if the dog puches the frisbee away rather than catching it mid-drop the dog will still chase it a bit to grab it. Always a bonus. Repeat for about 4 goes.

    Now walk for a few more minutes.

    Step 4: Get the most amazing thing in the world
    Behaviour taught: Stalk, Free chase & free grab.

    This time repeat step 3 but instead of dropping the frisbee toss it a few few in the direction you are running (away from the dog) and stop dead in your tracks allowing the dog to carry on. Hey presto you are almost there as the dog no longer associates you holding the toy as being part fo the game. It is now all about the movement of the toy by itself - prey. If you repeat this a few times and increase the distance you toss the toy the dog will become more intensly focussed on getting the toy as the chasing and grabbing begins to feel really good inside to the dog.

    Work up to tossing the frisbee about 10feet at least 10 times before moving on.

    Step 5: "FETCH!"
    Behaviour taught: Stalk, chase & grab - feels really good!!!

    Stnd in front of your dog or just tot he side and make the frisbee exciting for about ten seconds - "What's this? Do you want this? Look! Look! Look! Raaaargh! Look at this!". Now throw the frisbee ten feet. The dog will, I mean WILL, set off after the frisbee. TAAA DAAAA!!!!!

    You can stop looking like a tool now as well :)

    The beauty of frisbees (the ring ones are the best) is that you can throw them as a frisbee was intended to be thrown - flat through the air, or you can throw them so the roll like a wheel. Either way is good but to build up on the distance use the wheel method as it is on the ground and easier for the dog to see.

    Once you have the frisbee method down or the tug method down you can use balls, dumbells, retrieval dummies, socks that you accidentally drop from the laundry, anything that moves from your hand really.

    What's even more benficial is that you can teach obedience with the frisbee being the reward thus you get trainign and exercise ticked off in one go!!!!

    Now I may regret this some what but if you are struggling with just how much of a goose you have make yourself or what the hell I am on about, I can make some vids to shwo you the steps. I am going to teach my new rescue how to play with toys as she isn;t interested as yet and has just been spayed so in the next few weeks i will be using these methods with her and as I have no shame I am willing to put a video guide together for anyone that wants one.

    Hope you get the meaning fromt he step-by-step and good luck ;)

    EDIT: Might help to put how to get the toy back.

    With the tug toy in the lounge or outsdie etc - relax the tension from the tug toy and the dog may drop it automatically or offer a tasty treat. As soon as the dog drops "Drop!" - Treat - "Good dog!" Play again. If you are letting the dog win they don't need to drop.

    With the frisbee - just offer a tasy treat. "Drop!" - treat - "Who's a good dog! Whata good dog you are!" Keep that momentum going.

    If the dog runs off with the toy, I am sure they won't , then don' wory. Just turn and walk away. No chasing. It's not a game if just the dog is involved.
     
    #13 hutch6, May 5, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  13. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    My older dog was 7 when I got her and was totally uninterested in chasing/retrieving balls. I clicker trained her to do it and she enjoys it now, although I doubt she'll ever be as "chasey" as my other dog.

    I started off clicking/treating for any move toward the ball, even a glance. Then increased the criteria and asked for a nose bump, then teeth bump, then open mouth bump, then pick up (no matter how small), then turn toward me.... etc etc.

    If they naturally love the chase it gets easier once you've taught that returning to you gets the treat, because you can then use another throw as the reward :)
     
  14. Dans Mum

    Dans Mum PetForums Junior

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    My Dan is the most un-collie like collie i have ever seen...he is a sweetheart but won't chase anything...including balls and frizbees..in fact he is quite scared of them still. I am hoping when he settles in a bit more we can work on his toy-phobia!
     
  15. Daggre

    Daggre PetForums Member

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    Thanks all =D

    especially hutch for taking the time to write that.

    Will be trying. We were playinbg earlier today and the one time she bought it back she got a huge fuss, but the rest she just ran after it, then went off to sniff summin else =/.
     
  16. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    That's why sometimes it helps to teach it as an exercise, rather than rely on them bringing it back for fun - and backchaining it, as has been suggested, gives them no chance to get it wrong because as you progress, they're always working toward something they understand because they've been learning that the longest.
     
  17. Daggre

    Daggre PetForums Member

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    Plan to do some 'fetch' on the weekend. Have currently been improving her 'bang' so she now does a little beg bit in the middle xD
     
  18. Mum2Heidi

    Mum2Heidi PetForums VIP

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    Heidi was 8 months when fetching clicked for her. She still drops the ball sometimes or runs to the ball and sits waiting for me to catch up.

    One that works without fail for me is to throw it behind me and keep walking, only stopping to praise when she catches up. Heidi will occasionally leave it behind but always goes back for it. She hates to think we would carry on without the ball.
     
  19. the melster

    the melster PetForums Senior

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    Bo will retrieve every time on the beach like a pro. Unfortunately that is the only place she will do it :rolleyes: Take her on the field and she chases and then runs off with it .. no amount of treats will make her bring it back.
     
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